The 2021 Country Music Association awards kicked off on Wednesday with an incredible performance by Miranda Lambert and ended with an almost clean sweep by Chris Stapleton.
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Miranda - who was also celebrating her birthday - sang a medley of her hit singles Kerosene, Mama’s Broken Heart, Bluebird, Little Red Wagon and Gunpowder and Lead, and finished off the performance with a burst of fireworks at the back of the stage.
Miranda opened the show
Hosted by American Idol's Luke Bryan, the ceremony saw him joined by his fellow judges Katy Perry and Lionel Richie as the three handed out the first award of the evening to Chris Stapleton, who was the big winner of the evening.
Chris picked up four gongs, with track Starting Over awarded Song of the Year and Single of the Year, and the album of the same name winning Album of the Year.
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He also won Male Vocalist of the Year.
He told press that he would be taking the awards "out on the road as they belong to fans", revealing that they often let fans who visit the exhibitions touch the awards.
Luke won Entertainer of the Year
He was pipped to the post for a clean sweep by Luke Combs, who won Entertainer of the Year.
"He works really hard and is a great songwriter and singer," Chris said of Luke, "he connects with his fans, he earned it."
Kelsea Ballerini won two awards - Musical Event of the Year and Music Video of the Year - for the song Half of My Hometown (featuring Kenny Chesney), and Dancing with the Stars' Jimmie Allen won New Artist of the Year.
Lionel and Katy joined Luke to announce the first winner
"Five years ago I spent my last hundred dollars and came to the CMA 50th to watch Charlie Pride and then I got to perform with him last year," he shared, thanking everyone for voting for him.
Carly Pearce, meanwhile, beat both Miranda and Maren Morris for Female Vocalist of the Year, and she was left unable to speak on stage, with Ashley McBryde joining her to help her get started.
"I have watched a lot of strong women in country music write their truth and that's what I did," she later told press backstage.
Brothers Osborne won Vocal Duo of the Year
Brothers Osborne took home Vocal Duo of the Year, and TJ Osborne, who came out as gay in February 2021, thanked his peers for continuing to "support" the band.
"It's been a crazy rollercoaster of a year for us in so many eays and especially me emotionally and to have your all support me it reallt does mean a lot," he shared.
The 2021 Country Music Association awards winners...
Entertainer of the YearEric ChurchLuke Combs - WINNERMiranda LambertChris StapletonCarrie Underwood
Luke took home the big award of the night
Single of the YearFamous Friends, Chris Young with Kane BrownThe Good Ones, Gabby BarrettHell of a View, Eric ChurchOne Night Standards, Ashley McBrydeStarting Over, Chris Stapleton - WINNER
Album of the Year29, Carly PearceDangerous: The Double Album, Morgan WallenHeart, Eric ChurchSkeletons, Brothers OsborneStarting Over, Chris Stapleton - WINNER
MORE: Carrie Underwood overcome with emotion after major surprise during Nashville performance
Chris scooped four awards from five nominations
Song of the YearForever After All, Luke CombsThe Good Ones, Gabby BarrettHell of a View, Eric ChurchOne Night Standards, Ashley McBrydeStarting Over, Chris Stapleton - WINNER
Female Vocalist of the YearGabby BarrettMiranda LambertAshley McBrydeMaren MorrisCarly Pearce - WINNER
Carly won Female Vocalist of the Year
Male Vocalist of the YearDierks BentleyEric ChurchLuke CombsThomas RhettChris Stapleton - WINNER
Vocal Group of the YearLady ALittle Big TownMidlandOld Dominion - WINNERZac Brown Band
Vocal Duo of the YearBrooks & DunnBrothers Osborne - WINNERDan + ShayFlorida Georgia LineMaddie & Tae
Kelsea won her first two CMAs
New Artist of the YearJimmie Allen - WINNERIngrid AndressGabby BarrettMickey GuytonHardy
Musical Event of the YearBuy Dirt, Jordan Davis and Luke BryanChasing After You, Ryan Hurd with Maren MorrisDrunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home), Elle King and Miranda LambertFamous Friends, Chris Young with Kane BrownHalf of My Hometown, Kelsea Ballerini (featuring Kenny Chesney) - WINNER
Music Video of the YearChasing After You, Ryan Hurd with Maren MorrisFamous Friends, Chris Young with Kane BrownGone, Dierks BentleyHalf of My Hometown, Kelsea Ballerini (featuring Kenny Chesney) - WINNERYounger Me, Brothers Osborne
Watch The 55th Annual CMA Awards in full On Demand and Hulu until Nov. 20. Visit CMAawards.com/watch for more VOD information.
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